Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Directed by Rob Marshall, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, 2011. Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Question: When you see the list of summer movies released or coming out soon, don't you want to say: "Remakes, Prequels and Sequels, Oh my!" I do. Yes, I have seen many of these types of films in the past few weeks, and some have even surprised me at how good they were. However, after watching the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End a few years back I rolled my eyes at the latest release in the series: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. I honestly didn't think they were going to make another.

The original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was brilliant. I loved it and have watched it many times. The second film was an average 5 out of 10 for me, and I was so disappointed with it but it was tolerable. However, the third film in the series has magically disappeared from my memory bank because it was so awful. So, why did I see the latest one? I must confess - I love Captain Jack Sparrow (a.k.a. Johnny Depp), and my husband and son's flight got delayed 8 hours. We had time to kill. (Plus, Super 8 doesn't start until Friday!) So, I thought to myself: Why not?

My expectations were not very high for this film, but I was pleasantly surprised it wasn't horrible. It wasn't great but it was a tolerable story to follow. There were even a few scenes that I got totally immersed in -- let's just say Ariel wouldn't be happy with it but I enjoyed it.

Yes, there were too many over-the-top action scenes. Yes, some of the dialogue didn't leave much to the imagination. That surprised me because when you are learning to write screenplays the number one rule is "Show not Tell" the story. Sure there were plenty of non-verbal actions scenes but when it was a more subdued scene the actors spelled everything out with their words.

Now to Jack Sparrow: To me, he is one of the best characters ever created for the silver screen. All credit to Johnny Depp, and he deserves an honorary Oscar for developing such the well-beloved drunken pirate. Even though I adore this character there is a reason the first story worked so well: he wasn't necessarily the main character. The balancing act of the young lovers, Captain Barbosa's men and their quest, and Jack looking for his ship allowed an even distribution of characters and their stories. The movies now have Jack Sparrow as the central character and it is uneven.

The black-eyed pirate is so dynamic that he over-shadows everyone else. In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides they tried to showcase a character or two to counterbalance Jack Sparrow. With Ian McShane's Blackbeard they got close but Penelope Cruz's and Geoffrey Rush's characters fell way short. Yes, there was an interesting development between two characters -- that will remain nameless; however, it didn't evoke the same pairing as Miss Swan and Mr. Turner.

All-in-all this film was better than the last, but just don't expect the greatness of the first.

My favorite part: Jack Sparrow was good but I really liked the sea creatures.

My least favorite part: That nothing was left to the imagination.
Rating: PG-13
Length: 136 minutes

Random thought: Ian McShane is high up on my favorite actor list but it probably has to do with a great character he played for British television: Lovejoy. Check it out especially if you like antiques mixed in with an adventure tale.

Review: 4 out of 10


Eschelle said...

there was one sword fight that just wouldn't end... it was rough!! The mermaids are terrifying, though i LOVED that they were true to their folklore, NOT kid friendly... but not many movies these days are lol. Glad you liked the mermaids too!!! heehee the song was so enchanting even had me mesmerized!

Mary said...

You know...I complained heartily about World's End..until I saw this on (Stranger Tides). Don't get me wrong, I liked Stranger Tides. Plus, my son has just discovered these movies and watching him watch Captain Jack Sparrow is such a treat. But...Stranger Tides actually had a cohesive plot that could be followed. After seeing it, I missed the loony free for all who-cares-if-it-makes-sense Pirates that Worlds End embodied. I like these movies. And, you're right...Jack Sparrow is one of the best movie characters ever. Depp is amazing.